Okay, they’re going to revoke my comedy writer card for this, but I’m going to share with you the great secret of being funny. Listen carefully. The secret is … a kiss. (Put down the breath mints; it’s not that kind of kiss.) You’ve heard the phrase “Keep It Simple, Stupid,” but in the realm of comedy writing, you’ve got to “Key Into (the) Subtext, Silly.” Yes, subtext. You know, that thing that clicks when you hear the punchline of a joke. It’s what people relate to when they hear something amusing. It’s the “ah-ha!” or the “Oh, I get it!”
Think about a character who has all the scene stealing lines in your favorite book. Why are they so good? Why are their wit-filled quips the mic drops of every scene? Because, more often than not, they’re saying what we’re all thinking. They’ve got the bravery to spit it out with sass. They’re hitting those universal truths that we’re all picking up on consciously or subconsciously. Yep, I’m bringing in big, serious words now. Why? Because making people laugh is serious business.
Guffaws are Great
Adding a guffaw or two to your story, even if it’s a work of horror, can be immensely satisfying for both you and your readers. A simple comedic detail, an outrageous adjective, or a sarcastic barb in the middle of a monologue can go a long way to keeping a reader interested. And let’s be honest, those humorous moments are fun to write. So, let that character whose been hanging back in the scene you’re currently writing step up and work some sarcastic magic. It’s time to pucker up and slip them some … subtext.
Uh-oh. The Comedy Police are coming. We didn’t talk. I wasn’t here.
For more on the secret of subtext and other reasons why R.J. Rowley is going to get her comedy card revoked, check out the humor writing workshop “H.A.: Humorists Anonymous, the 12 Steps to Embracing Your Funny” at the 2019 Pikes Peak Writers Conference in May.
Satirist and Joker of All Trades, Rebecca “R.J.” Rowley captures life’s absurdities on the page and keeps them there until the proper authorities arrive. Publications include humorous fiction novels, short works of satire, and random acts of poetry. When not entertaining the masses or terrorizing the villagers, she copyedits for a local publisher and utilizes her MBA in Entertainment Management to develop programs designed to support fellow authors and humorists in building their careers. Find out more at www.bexly.org.